PIR Center, Moscow
Saint Petersburg State University
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2022. No 2 (63). P. 234-244
Abstract. The probability of a new great war in Europe, which was perceived as minimal in the 1990s 2010s, has seriously increased in 2022. Among numerous reasons for this were the nuclear risks associated with the highly ambiguous statements of the Ukrainian leadership, Poland’s desire to acquire American tactical nuclear weapons, and risks of the Russia U.S. nuclear war that increased with the further collapse of the arms control regime. Against this background, the revival of the long-forgotten idea of a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) could play a positive role in resolving this problem. The article raises terminological issues, discusses a potential territorial framework for such a zone, and provides a brief historical account of the issue. Four scenarios of regional developments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation are offered. Two scenarios provide for the creation of a nuclear free zone, one more involves the freezing the current situation, and the last one focuses on threats to non-proliferation regime in Central and Eastern Europe. In the end, conclusions are offered about the potential significance of such a zone for the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, especially in connection with conventional arms control measures in Europe.
Keywords: nuclear weapon-free zone, Central and Eastern Europe, Rapacki Plan, Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Intermarium, nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear sharing policy, nuclear weapons program
Vladimir Orlov is a Professor at MGIMO University and Director, PIR Center, Moscow.
Alexey Yurk is a Junior Researcher at PIR center, Moscow, and a PhD student, School of International Relations, Saint Petersburg State University.
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